Deep Water Running for Injury Prevention


Blog by Rachel Grunwell: Award-winning journalist. Wellness writer for three magazines (Good, Indulge and Run4YourLife). Magazine smoothie creator. Yoga Teacher. Fitness Consultant. Multi-Marathoner x19. Blogger. Co-leader of health retreats at Rotorua’s Polynesian Spa.

Find out about new fitness and health products with Rachel via Inspired Health’s Facebook & Instagram

Are you an injured runner? Well, then you have to try Deep Water Running. It’s low-impact, the closest cross-training activity to running, it’s a kick-ass full-body workout, it can result in improved biomechanics for land running and it can help you recover from injury.

I’ve done some sessions with run coach Kiri Price, who takes classes at the AUT Millennium as well as private lessons. I’d recommend a private lesson for your first time so you can suss the technique and so you know you are doing it right. There’s an art to mastering it.

Kiri says deep water running classes have come a long way from the aqua jogging classes of the 80’s and 90’s. AUT Millennium’s Deep Water Running sessions have been developed specifically for runners and athletes to develop and maintain their aerobic fitness and running technique in a non-weight-bearing environment.

The AUT Millennium sessions have been developed specifically for runners and athletes to develop and maintain their aerobic fitness and running technique in a non-weight bearing environment.

“The biggest benefit of deep water running is that it is no impact, therefore minimising musculo-skeletal stress, while still providing a full body workout,” she says.

Kiri says it is biomechanically the closest cross-training method to actual running, providing a fantastic aerobic training workout. Deep water running is perfect for those currently suffering from injury, or who are on the path to recovery. Kiri has 100% success rate with helping injured runners she has worked with, to heal, and achieve marathon running success. 

So what’s the experience like? Well, I did this for several weeks while training for the Chicago Marathon in 2016. You strap a blue float device tight around your waist and then get in the pool with a bunch of other folk wearing blue-belts too.

Kiri starts with a warm up – getting students to tread water for a few minutes – maintaining an upright position with minimal forward leaning from the ankles, shoulders just out of the water, core-tight, and pushing the feet straight down and slightly behind you, feet relaxed, toes pointing down (so you imagine pushing off the bottom of the pool). Meanwhile, your arms pump forwards and backwards by your sides).

The class includes things like  drills, interval sessions and the class is full of different things to focus on to improve things like run technique, form or to have some fun.

The pool here is massive, multi-million-dollar complex where you can often spot some elite athletes. Kiri says she has seen rugby legend Sonny Bill Williams and lots of elite athletes here. I’ve spotted Valerie Adams a few times too on her way to the AUT Millennium gym nearby.

The deep water running workout is tough by the way; It is no walk in the park. You get red-faced and feel like you’ve done a really tough workout. The best thing is it helps you keep your running base strong. I recommend this for injured runners and I highly recommend Kiri’s sessions. She’s an incredibly experienced runner (she has run close to 150 marathons) and she’s also one of the nicest coaches you could hope to meet.

One-on-one sessions are available with Kiri Price and these can be booked directly with her – just email [email protected] (please tell her Rach recommended her!) Group sessions available by appointment. You can click this link to find out more .


kiri pacing

Pic of Kiri Price pacing at the Rotorua Marathon.


Blog by Rachel Grunwell. Rachel’s mission is to inspire Kiwis to live healthy and happy. Follow Rachel via InspiredHealth’s Facebook page & Instagram 

To find out more about the health retreats she co-leads at Rotorua’s Polynesian Spa click HERE




I Ride With Hame Team’s Success!

By Rachel Grunwell
This is how Greg Rieger is feeling after finding out his fundraiser has raised $26,000 to date.
“That’s 11 kids on the boat,” says Greg Rieger, proudly.
This means there is enough money to put 11 kids on the Spirit of Adventure boat in the future – an experience that empowers youth to create brighter futures. Greg dreamed he’d raise enough for 12 kids to experience the Spirit of Adventure when he started his 12-half-marathons over 12-months mission this year. Now he reckons he could be helping more kids than he had ever dreamed of helping (because there is still four months to go!)
So, he’s over the moon.
The I Ride With Hame fundraiser – where Greg will do 12-half-marathons over 12-months – kicked off at the Rotorua Marathon event this year. It will end at this same event on May 5,2018.
Greg’s wife Donna and many family and friends have also been a big part of this heart-felt venture, often joining Greg at events to walk or run.
The fundraiser was started in memory of Greg and Donna’s Son Hamish (pictured below  who tragically died after being swept off the rocks at Mt Maunganui, in the Bay of Plenty, on January 23, 2016.
Greg says Hamish loved helping people as a lifeguard and so he is just doing something Hamish would do if he was here.
The Rotorua Marathon event is really special to the family and so too is the Spirit of Adventure. In 2015, Hamish received a scholarship from Mount Maunganui College to sail on the Spirit of Adventure.
After experiencing the Spirit of Adventure, Hamish returned focused and enthused on becoming a policeman and determined to become fitter than ever. One of his big fitness goals after returning from the Spirit was to run the half-marathon at the Rotorua Marathon event – and so he entered this renowned event. Sadly he passed away before he could fulfil this passionate goal. So Greg and Donna decided to walk this event last year to celebrate their beloved son and finish the goal he wanted to complete. A friend also ran the event in his memory too.
These first, hard, and heart-felt, footsteps sparked something big. The couple returned to do the event this year to kick off their official fundraiser. And many passionate friends and family have been supporting them by cheering them on, or joining in to run or walk too or even fundraise.
Several sponsors have also been kind enough to support the venture, which has humbled Greg. From a physio, to  asics, and lots of others.
Greg reckons there will be around 30 family and friends joining him to do the final fundraiser half-marathon at the Rotorua Marathon event. There will be lots of sweat, smiles and celebrating that day.
He also chuckles that he will try and corner a few more friends and family into joining him at this event when he sees them over the Christmas period. He says he will ask them to “join the movement”.
“This will be a big one and I would love everyone to be there,” he says.
Margi Mellsop, from The Spirit of Adventure Trust, has previously commented that Greg and Donna’s fundraising mission is inspirational and she is so grateful the money will go to their trust.

She said: “We are so moved by Greg and his family’s commitment to celebrate the life of Hamish in this way. Their efforts will ensure that Hamish’s spirit of adventure will be passed to other Mount Manganui teens . What an incredible legacy they are creating”.

Join the Riegers by entering the Rotorua Marathon event – CLICK HERE
If you’d like to support the ‘I Ride With Hame’ fundraiser, donate via: ASB 12-3011-0461607-52 (all money goes to The Spirt of Adventure Trust for future scholarships to send deserving students on the Spirit of Adventure.

To listen to a video where Rachel interviews Greg about his running mission and how it is going. Click HERE 

Blog by Rachel Grunwell: Award-winning journalist. Good magazine columnist & smoothie chick. Multi-Marathoner. Yoga Teacher. Blogger.

Rachel’s mission is to inspire Kiwis to live healthy and happy. Follow Rachel via InspiredHealth’s Facebook page & Instagram 



Picture credits in this piece:

Top pic of Greg and Donna hand-in-hand was kindly supplied by

Picture of Hamish kindly supplied by Jamie Troughton.

Injury Advice – Tips & Motivation


Rachel Grunwell is an award-winning writer, magazine columnist, yoga teacher, marathoner & recipe creator

By Rachel Grunwell: Award-winning journalist. Good magazine’s wellness columnist & smoothie chick. Multi-Marathoner. Qualified Yoga Teacher. Blogger. Mum. The order of importance is in reverse.

Follow InspiredHealth’s Facebook page & Instagram (with giveaways like Fitbits to foodie and fitness books as well as health wisdom). 

Injury Advice – Tips & Motivation

If you love to chase that runner’s high, then you will want to avoid getting injured. Runners can get all kinds of injuries including: runner’s knee, shin splints, plantar fasciitis, stress fractures, sprains, pulling a muscle, iliotibial band syndrome, just to name some!

I can relate to this topic first-hand. I’ve been running for around five years and run a lot of miles marathon-training. So, inevitably, I got an injury – in 2016. It was a stress reaction in my left leg. While this sounds like something I might feel when my six-year-old throws a tantrum, I learned it is the precursor to a stress fracture. This is where the bone becomes weak at a cellular level and causes pain. Eye-watering pain where you might not use words that are very, well, er, lady-like.

I was sidelined from running for 3-months. I was devastated initially. Running is the way I de-stress and keep fit. But then I looked at this time instead with a positive mindset (that’s the yoga training within me!) and saw it as an opportunity to do yoga, cycling, pool running, and strength work until I healed. After that, I returned to running with a strong body (and mind) and only weeks later ran the Chicago Marathon with a not too shabby time.

10 Top Tips Around Injuries:

  1. * Have a good run form. I’d recommend seeing an expert to make sure you have a good biomechanical form. They also give you tips on how to run more smoothly – and efficient! Decode: Faster!
  2. * Don’t increase mileage too soon or go too fast too soon. You are begging for an injury if you do.
  3. * Warm up and cool down. Gentle dynamic stretches for a few minutes before running is great, and some static yoga stretches for a few minutes afterwards is awesome.
  4. * Wear good shoes that fit your feet well.
  5. * Do some strength training. It’s as important as the run miles.
  6. * Be smart. If you can’t shake a “niggle” or problem then get expert advice and follow their recommendations. You will heal quicker and know what you can do and shouldn’t do to recover. Knowledge is power.
  7. * If you are injured, accept your injury and don’t dwell on it. Staying positive influences healing time frames. 
  8. * Focus on what you can do while injured- not what you can’t do. For example, I stayed strong with other fitness options when I couldn’t run.
  9. * Practice a positive mind-set and patience. The injury will heal eventually in most circumstances – and so put things into perspective. See adversity as a challenge and grow from it.
  10. * Take recovery seriously. Things like yoga, massages, using a roller and incorporating some mindfulness into your life is what smart runners do.

Other related blogs by Rachel:

Yoga Tips for Runners blog click HERE

7 Stretches For Runners click HERE


The Running Yogi & Warriors Captain

canterbury roger and rach stretch

I’m an ambassador for the John West 12km Traverse at the Auckland Marathon event on October 29. Here’s week two of my blog that features on Good magazine too. Here I get some top fitness tips from Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, rugby league player, Vodafone Warrior Captain and Canterbury ambassador. To see the rest of the blogs in this series on Good magazine find the link at the bottom of this blog.

 By Rachel Grunwell

Mind-set and motivation matters. It doesn’t matter what kind of sport or fitness activity you do, your mind drives your motivation..

I did a fitness workout with Roger at Health101 in Auckland – trailling the new Spring season of the Canterbury sports clothing line. Needless to say, I got the questions covered before the workout. Afterwards, I wasn’t useful for much. Other than gasping….

Strength work is a key to Roger’s power on paddocks. Strength work is also a key part of my run training too. Although the crossfire-style work out we did took strength work to a whole new level. Handstand push-ups anyone? Er, yeah, I suck at those too. 

Anyway, here are Roger’s top fitness tips. They don’t suck. They’re worth noting by anyone taking on the 12km John West Traverse event – or wanting to “be their best”.

  1. Train right. Make sure your training is specific to the event. i.e lots of power presses in the gym might not be best in this instance! Be sure to mimic the event into your training as much as possible. 
  2. Nutrition. A healthy diet plays a huge role in success in sport. Especially for game day. On game day I always ensure I have a healthy breakfast and lunch with loads of carbs and protein to get me through a game of footy. I usually have eggs on toast with avocado for breakfast. Lunch is something like chicken or salmon (white meat) with loads of veg. And probably a big smoothie.
  3. Sleep! It’s so important to ensure you get 7-8 hours sleep each night to allow your body to repair and rest before the next big training day or event. I am a big believer in breathing techniques for those nights when I find it a bit tricky to get to sleep. And there is a great app called Mindfulness I like to use every now and then.
  1. FUN! This one is huge. Make sure you enjoy what you are doing. Otherwise there is no point putting your body and mind through the pain and stress of training if you are not enjoying it!
  1. Support. Surround yourself with people who will inspire you and keep pushing you. I am lucky in my team environment to have such an amazing support network. We all know each other so well and can feel when one of the boys is a bit off. We rally together to get them back on track. So having training buddies, family, husbands, wives to keep you on check is a great idea! You will always have those down days, so don’t worry.

Rachel is Good magazine’s wellness columnist. She teaches yoga-for-runners and blogs on website You can also follow her on 


and Facebook

Meanwhile, here are some pictures from the Crossfit workout

canterbury frong jump

I think I was a frog in a pervious life chuckle..

canterbury plate lift rach

Plate lifting is good for the arms…

canterbury roger and rach stand

Still standing at the end. Or is Roger just propping me up?

Follow the rest of my blogs in this series via Good Magazine.


Heart-Felt Heroic Fundraiser about to Kick Off – Please Help



Blog by Rachel Grunwell: Blogger, marathoner, Good magazine’s wellness columnist + smoothie chick & yoga teacher. Follow her via Inspired Health’s Facebook & Instagram for lifestyle inspo, recipes & giveaways.


Greg Rieger & his wife Donna are about to tackle the Rotorua Marathon event on May 6 in memory of their beloved son Hamish (pictured above – picture kindly supplied by Jamie Troughton), who tragically died after being swept off the rocks at Mt Maunganui, in the Bay of Plenty, on January 23 last year.
In this blog, Greg and Donna talk in their own words about why this is a heart-felt fundraising mission and there are a few ways that we can all help to support their amazing fundraiser – through cheering them on, running for the charity cause too, or kindly giving a donation (details are below). ps the latter is the easiest option 🙂
Here are their heart-felt words on why they are doing the 21km distance at the Rotorua Marathon event:
“In 2015, Hamish received a scholarship from Mount Maunganui College to sail on the Spirit of Adventure. It was a life-changing experience for Hamish, who came back even more determined to become a police officer and to get fit enough to run a half-marathon (at the Rotorua Marathon event). Although Hamish sadly didn’t get to achieve those goals, his zest for life continues to inspire others, including us as his parents. We want to give back to the Spirit of Adventure Trust by running and walking 12 half-marathons in 12 months, raising money for future scholarships to send deserving students on the Spirit of Adventure. We want others to jump aboard the ‘health train’, as Hamish called it, get themselves fit and sponsored and help donate to the scholarship fund.
Please support the ‘I Ride With Hame’ fundraiser with a donation to: ASB 12-3011-0461607-52 (all money goes to The Spirt of Adventure Trust).
If you want to join the Riegers by doing the Rotorua Marathon event then you can enter now – CLICK HERE
Meanwhile, Greg and Donna want to say “a BIG thank you” to those who have supported them by raising $700 to date and thanks too to ASICS for sponsoring their awesome running shoes and the team’s shirts. This support means so much.
Meanwhile, Greg says training for this event has seen him turning into a healthier version of himself. He has lost a couple of kgs through running (usually to work and back if he can’t fit in a long run) and he is drinking less alcohol too because he’s so focused on training.
“I’ve become so unsociable,” he quips!
Greg says there are about 20 family and friends joining them to tackle the half marathon at Rotorua so far, but he says it would be awesome if anyone else is interested in joining them. Please contact Greg via the I Ride With Hame Facebook page to let him know if you are getting your running shoes on too. CLICK HERE


greg and hamish

Greg is pictured above during a training session at Mt Maunganui. His son Hamish (and inspiration for the fundraiser is pictured right).

Margi Mellsop, from The Spirit of Adventure Trust, has previously said that Greg and Donna’s fundraising mission is inspirational and she is so grateful the money will go to their trust.

“We are so moved by Greg and his family’s commitment to celebrate the life of Hamish in this way. Their efforts will ensure that Hamish’s spirit of adventure will be passed to other Mount Manganui teens . What an incredible legacy they are creating,” she said.

Top pic of Greg and Donna hand-in-hand was kindly supplied by


Pic: Rachel Grunwell, who will be running the Rotorua Marathon event too, leading a blind runner as an Achilles charity ambassador.

Follow Inspired Health on Facebook & Instagram


Are you making this big fitness mistake?


Blog by Rachel Grunwell: Marathoner. Yoga teacher. Good magazine’s wellness columnist. Blogger. Follow Rachel via Inspired Health’s Facebook, Instagram & Twitter for inspo, recipes & giveaways.

If you are passionate about being fit, and excelling at your sport, then don’t make the BIG mistake of ignoring all that post-workout recovery stuff.

It’s important if you an elite athlete – or a “weekend-warrior” (and health-geek) like me.

Rest, recovery, getting enough sleep, and tapping into all those awesome recovery options will help the body repair and strengthen. Recovery is as important as all those running miles, or all those tough hours you’ve committed to at the gym.

Sadly, recovery is an area that many athletes and gym-goers often ignore. But they should be aware that overtraining can lead to injury.

Here are some of my top recovery tips:

  • * Get enough sleep (adults generally need at least seven hours nightly). If you feel tired then listen to your body and rest. If you turn up to a workout when you are exhausted then you are at risk of injury. It’s just not worth it.
  • * Hydrate and eat nutritionally-rich foods that fuel your body well. If you want recommendations for nutritionists then comment below and I’ll recommend some top peeps. J
  • * Wear compression gear. It supports your muscles and reduces movement (so there’s less soft tissue damage and soreness post your workout). I love the brand SKINS (which I am wearing in these blog pitures). I feel like Olivia Newton-John in the movie Grease trying to put them on (they’re supposed to be snug and tight by the way for the best support). But man, they feel like an amazing snug, second skin and I love wearing them when I run. I made the mistake of wearing a pair of yoga tights in a race once and spent the whole time hitching up my pants! So, it’s compression tights, or nothing now when I run. And the latter option isn’t pretty, so I’ll keep wearing compression tights, thanks…  If you want to check out the SKINS range then click HERE.
  • * Do yoga, Tai Chi, or just simply stretch your body gently and mindfully. This will help you to move well and perform better. It will also help you to walk less like a “cowboy poised ready for action” too. You know, when you walk funny because your muscles are so tight from a tough workout.



  • * Use a roller to iron your muscles out. This is a great self-massage tool. Even better, see a great masseuse weekly (if you can afford it).



  • * Do something to chill out daily. It will help your body to unwind and de-stress – and you’ll be a nicer person! Just saying..



  • Here’s a legs-up-the-wall yoga pose that’s utter bliss for recovery!SKINS 12
  • * If you feel stressed then do a five-minutes’ meditation (better still do meditation with your legs up the wall (my favourite yoga pose) and take in some slow deep belly breaths to calm down your nervous system. Count to four breaths as you inhale and feel the belly rise, and then count to six as you exhale slowly and feel the belly deflate. Keep repeating this for a few minutes and then I promise you will feel more Zen-like. Doing this at night before bed-time would be an awesome idea.
  • * Be positive. This helps your body function at its best. X X
  • ps: this post was sponsored by the awesome peeps at SKINS. I’ve worn their compression tights for a few marathons I’ve run.




Runner Aiming for Guinness World record

Blair & Rubik's cubes


Blog by Rachel Grunwell: Official blogger for the ASB Christchurch Marathon. Rachel is a marathoner, yoga teacher & Good magazine’s wellness columnist + smoothie chick. Follow Inspired Health’s Facebook, Instagram & Twitter.

Puzzling Marathon Mission: Runner going for Guinness World record

Most people consider running a marathon tough enough. But Christchurch personal trainer Blair Williamson aims to try and break a Guinness World title too when he tackles the ASB Christchurch Marathon on June 4, 2017. The 26-year-old wants to solve the most Rubik’s cubes while running NZ’s fastest and flattest marathon course.

Williamson aims to solve around 200 Rubik’s cubes while running the event (in under 5-hours). He needs to beat American Shane White’s record of solving 175 of the cubes during the Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah Marathon in America in November 2012 (in 4hrs 53mins).

Williamson, can usually run a sub 4-hour marathon. But he may slow down his stride so he can get in more puzzle-solving missions throughout the race. This event will be his fifth marathon challenge and his second crack at the Christchurch event.

He’ll have a support crew of about three mates who will help him on race day. He’s yet to fully sort the logistics ie how many Rubik’s cubes he will use, whether a mate will run beside him and mix them up in-between Williamson solving the cubes, or whether someone might need to transport 200 fresh cubes to him throughout the course.

He applied to the records office in January to try and officially break the record and hopes to hear soon on approval (it can take up to 12-weeks to lodge an attempt at a record through the “free” entry option). The Guinness World Record office will also send him guidelines around his mission ie how he will need to get the official evidence of his success on the day (ie should runners watch him every moment and verify the numbers or should they video the puzzle solving.

Williamson says the idea came about when a fellow trainer sent him a link about a runner holding a title for the mission near the end of last year. The friend knew Williamson loves running and is an expert at doing the puzzles.

The personal trainer (at Limit Zero gym in Christchurch) has since been training – on the road and on a treadmill with the cubes. During a two-hour training run he managed to solve 88 Rubik’s cubes.

He says he learnt how to master the puzzles nine years ago when friend taught him “how to look at it a different way”.

“The puzzles used to confuse me and give me a headache. But a friend showed me how to do a pattern and it’s just now like doing a puzzle. It now is just common sense to me,” he says.

He says he can do the puzzles as fast as under a minute. And this great pic shows he can also juggle the colourful cubes.

Blair juggle rubik's cubes

I asked him if he’s afraid of falling over while he’s trying to do two things at once? Williamson admits he did “semi-roll” his ankle once already. But it hasn’t put him off his goal.

“I’m looking at my hands while I’m looking down at the ground anyway. So, there’s a peripheral view. But looking down gets my neck a bit crocked too. But I’ll put up with that on race day,” he says.

Join Williamson by running at the Christchurch Marathon’s full or half marathon, 10km distance or sign your kids up for the “kids mara’fun” by clicking HERE

Blog penned by Rachel Grunwell: Marathoner. Blogger. Good magazine’s wellness columnist. Yoga teacher. Follow Rachel via Inspired Health ‘s Facebook, Instagram & Twitter pages.









Why you shouldn’t run cold!


Column by Rachel Grunwell: Marathoner, yoga teacher, Good magazine’s wellness columnist and professional blogger. Follow Rachel via Inspired Health’s Facebook  & Instagram for more tips, recipes & giveaways

Why You Should Stretch & How…

Runners are renowned for wanting to skip the ‘warm up’. I get that. All we want to do is lace up our shoes and pound the pavements – or trails – for training. The sooner we get that incredible fix of movement, escapism, freedom and that scientifically proven “runner’s high” the better.

But there’s good reason for warming up and warming down…

Firstly I recommend doing a dynamic warm up routine before you run. This could include controlled, smooth ‘walking lunges’ (10 times on each leg) and then ‘hamstring leg swings’ (10 each side too). Dynamic stretching means a stretch is performed by moving through a range of motion repeatedly and not holding a stretch for a long time. Why do this? This warms up the body to prepare it to move well and ultimately helps with your performance.

A lot of people avoid warming up because they’re impatient. But it’s worth taking just a few minutes of moving, dynamic stretches before a run. You will feel the difference. Your body will feel less tight and function better.

Now, I bet you’re keen to know why a ‘warm down’ is important? The idea behind stretching post-workout is to help lengthen your muscles out. A roller is an amazing self-massage tool for this too. I personally use one after every run.

If you want some step-by-step instructions for some warm down examples of ‘stretches for runners’, then you can find some on my blog.. Click HERE. X X


About Rachel Grunwell

Win a Fitbit! & 6 tips to nailing a fitness goal

fitbit win

Go in the draw to win a Fitbit alta watch worth $229. Check out the comp via our Facebook or Instagram pages.

Don’t you just love the watch colour? This super slim watch also has great sleep insights, counts steps, monitors your heart rate, has long-life battery power and is a great motivator with fitness goals!

By Rachel Grunwell

  1. * Just turn up. Progression will happen through consistency. It’s like anything… do it more often and you’ll get better at it.
  2. * Enter an event. This can scare you into action!
  3. * Share you goal with friends. They can cheer you on and will hold you accountable.
  4. * Have a detailed plan on how you will achieve success ie write down where you will work out, when, how long, when you will have rest days etc… Motivation is great, but planning will give you a guide to follow.
  5. * Seek out expert support if you can afford it. Having a coach can help you to get optimum results, expand your knowledge base and they can advise you on how to train smart to avoid injury and burn-out etc. 
  6. * Think about smaller goals on the journey and celebrate each milestone.


Article supplied by Rachel Grunwell – wellness magazine columnist, yoga teacher, marathoner and director of lifestyle website Follow InspiredHealth on Facebook & Instagram.Rachel running on treadmill

Pictured: Rachel getting some run tests done at the AUT Millennium in Auckland.

Parents of teen lifesaver will run the Rotorua Marathon event to raise money in his memory



Article by Rachel Grunwell: Official blogger for the Rotorua Marathon. Rachel is a marathoner, Good magazine’s wellness columnist + smoothie chick & yoga teacher . Follow her via Inspired Health’s Facebook & Instagram for inspo, recipes & giveaways.

Greg and Donna Rieger – the parents of a teenager lifesaver who drowned a year ago plan to conquer 12 half-marathons in his memory. And the Rotorua Marathon event is at the top of their list for a special reason.

Hamish Rieger, aged 17, was tragically swept off the rocks near the blowhole at Moturiki (Leisure) Island in the Bay of Plenty on January 23.

Greg and Donna will celebrate Hamish’s life, and his thirst for adventure, by doing 12 half-marathons – so that’s 252km in total (and that doesn’t even count all those training miles!) They hope to raise $12,000 – $1000 for each 21km event – to fund a Spirt of Adventure scholarship fund for Mount Maunganui teenagers.

Greg says they chose the Spirit of Adventure as the recipient of their fundraising efforts because Hamish’s experience of doing this in 2015 inspired the teenager to go on a fitness-kick and to chase his ambitions to a higher level.

They hope that the donations help some other local teenagers to have that same wonderful opportunity.

Greg says how The Spirit of Adventure helped Hamish:

“He was always the kid who embraced life but he came back from the Spirit of Adventure more mature, with his heart opened, and a commitment to living life to the full every day… For that, we are forever grateful and want to give kids from his community the chance to have the same life-changing experience,” says Greg.


Pic of Hamish supplied by Jamie Troughton.

Margi Mellsop, from The Spirit of Adventure Trust, says Greg and Donna’s 12-half-marathon mission is “so inspiring” and she is so grateful the fundraising will go to The Spirit of Adventure Trust.

“We are so moved by Greg and his family’s commitment to celebrate the life of Hamish in this way. Their efforts will ensure that Hamish’s spirit of adventure will be passed to other Mount Manganui teens . What an incredible legacy they are creating,” she says.

Greg says they are yet to pinpoint all the events they will do. But the Rotorua half-marathon on May 6 is at the top of their list. It is special to him and Donna because Hamish had entered it this year, but he died before he could run it.

Instead, Greg and Donna completed that dream for Hamish in 2016, walking hand-in-hand, and shedding more tears than sweat on that journey. They did this event quietly, without media attention, as they were so grief-stricken at that time.

Greg says he barely noticed the pain of blisters and all those tough miles. His focus was instead on Hamish through every mile.

“By the end of that event my eyes were streaming,” says Greg.

Next year, Greg and Donna will repeat Hamish’s goal again. But this time, their steps will mean even more because of the public fundraiser.

Greg has already started training for the Rotorua half-marathon. He plans to run this, while Donna plans to walk. Hamish’s siblings Oliver, 22, Fergus, 20, and Eliza-Jane,15 and up to 40 family members and friends have pledged to join them too at the Rotorua Marathon event, all wearing ‘I Ride with Hame’ printed asics t-shirts.

Greg, 53, says he can’t wait to be lining up at the start-line at Rotorua’s Government Gardens for the event.

“I’m absolutely fizzing and so looking forward to doing this,” says Greg.

Greg says he has been overwhelmed with support since a story appeared in the Sunday Star-Times about the fundraiser. Three people contacted him immediately to say they wish to donate and a physio in Tauranga has also pledged to help keep Greg in good shape during the journey.

Greg has also been contacted by a surf club member to say they wish to recruit lifeguards from about three  clubs to participate in the Rotorua Marathon event – to give their support to the family.

“I’ve been blown away by the support, totally blown away. I’m pretty stoked,” says Greg.

Greg says Hamish would be proud of the fundraiser. The teenager gave back a lot to his community as a member of the Mount Maunganui lifeguard service, which the Riegers continue to be proudly involved with.

Meanwhile, the Papamoa-based dad says milestones that Hamish misses hurt the most.

This month, Greg and Donna were invited to attend the Mount Maunganui College’s 2016 graduation ceremony to accept Hamish’s graduation certificate. Greg says it was tough not seeing his son graduate, but he was incredibly honoured to  get the certificate and said it was an “emotional experience and one I will always cherish”.

The parents are expecting the milestone of January 23 to be tough too. But doing the fundraiser for Hamish’s memory will help them move through their pain and celebrate their treasured boy’s life.

  • Please support the ‘I Ride With Hame’ fundraiser with a donation: ASB 12-3011-0461607-52
  • You can enter the Rotorua Marathon event by clicking here

– An earlier version of this story was published in the Sunday Star Times & the website by Rachel Grunwell.


Top pic of Greg and Donna was supplied by